EPRA Proposes Tough Rules For Solar Operators

Pavel Oimeke
Pavel Oimeke. [PHOTO/ COURTESY]

The Energy and Petroleum Regulation Authority (EPRA) has drafted a proposal with regulations to govern the manufacture, importation, installation and maintenance of solar components and systems.

Last week, the media was awash with reports of a mass exodus to solar power. Corporate heavyweights that make up a big portion of the industrial consumers sought to adapt to solar power citing unreliability and high bills from Kenya Power.

EPRA raised concerns over the reports that could see Kenya Power lose some of its consumers who account for at least 54.8 percent of its sales revenues.

Read: EPRA Denies Reports That It Has Hiked Electricity Prices

The Draft Regulations (Solar Photovoltaic Systems) Regulations, 2020 seek to make the shift to solar power gruesome, leaving Kenyans with the only option of sticking with the state agency’s unreliable services.

Technicians will need licencing before the design, installation, commissioning and repair of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system.

The permits will be awarded based on the capacity of the system to be installed.

Licence classed ST1, ST2 and ST3 will be granted for systems with a maximum capacity of 400 Watts, 2K Watts and 50KWatts respectively.

Read also: Troubled EPRA Boss Pavel Oimeke Reinstated

Technicians who obtain an ST4 licence are the only ones who will be allowed to install solar grids of any capacity.

Obtaining a licence will also not be so easy, as the technicians will also need to fulfill some requirements.

For the basic solar grids, the technician must have completed primary school and should have training certification in electrical and solar PV systems.

Technicians in the second category will be required to have completed secondary schools, and should also have training certification in electronics and solar energy systems.

Read also: EPRA Warns Against Hoarding of Petroleum Products, Assures Public of Sufficient Stocks

To install solar grids, you will be required to have a bachelor’s degree and have relevant experience in electrical engineering.

Obtaining and renewal of licences will cost technicians between Sh2,250 and Sh6,000

When it comes to importation, contractors who will be allowed to import or sell Solar PV components must obtain classes SC1, SC2,SC3, SC4 and SM licences for grids not exceeding 400W, 2KW and 50KW respectively.

Read also: EPRA Approves 20 Percent Increment In Electricity Consumption Charge

Contractors with SC4 permits will be allowed to import, sell and install any Solar grid system.

A class SM licence will be required for contractors importing parts that are used to manufacture solar PV components and systems.

Contractors will part with Sh3,000 to Sh6,000 to obtain their permits. They will also be required to take Insurance policies of between Sh1 million and Sh10 million to operate.

Read also: EPRA Names Mueni Mutung’a As Acting Director General To Replace Pavel Oimeke

Failure to renew licences will attract a Sh10,000 daily fine for the solar operators. They will also be slapped with a Sh20,000 fine if they fail to produce a completion certificate for a job done, and a further Sh20,000 if they do not give a warranty for installation.

Epra said the regulations were meant to ensure the solar components and systems meet the required standards.

“In consultation with stakeholders, the authority has developed regulations. The goal is to streamline the manufacture, importation, distribution, design, installation, testing, commissioning, maintenance and repair of solar photovoltaic systems and components,” Epra Director-General Pavel Oimeke said.

“This is through licensing players in the solar photovoltaic chain and enforcement of approved standards for the industry.”

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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